Straight Pipes vs Downpipes

If you enjoy a loud turbo for your car, then choosing whether to have a straight pipe or a downpipe is very important.


A straight pipe is used for the exhaust system without a catalytic or muffler converter. It has straight lines that go from the exhaust headers to the rear. 

Downpipe is a tubing section that joins the exhaust ports with the starting of the car's exhausting system. 

Downpipes have catalytic converters that clear out the gasses when they are produced. So, how do straight pipes and downpipes resemble? This article has all the points you need to know, so keep reading for some helpful information.

Difference Between Straight pipes and Downpipes

There are several key differences between the two exhaust systems. Straight pipes generate many gases, while downpipe contains catalytic converter that is used to reduce the emission of harmful gasses. 

A straight pipe is not legal in some states because of the emission of gases, while an rs3 downpipe is legal in some countries. Downpipe is more expensive to install than straight pipe. The installation cost of a straight pipe ranges between 1000$-1500$ while the installation cost of a downpipe is 2200$-2500$. 

You can fix downpipes yourself, but to install straight pipe a professional will be needed as it requires welding.

Straight pipes produce more and louder noise than downpipes simply because they have no filters as they are just straight, uncovering the engine sound more.

Types of Downpipes

There are two forms of downpipes: Catted and catless. The difference between catted and catless is having a catalytic converter. These two also have different costs as the catalytic converter has dignified metals like palladium, rhodium, and platinum.

The catless downpipe has some limitations that come with it. For example, it can be illegal in some states because of its environmental effects. You need to install aftermarket downpipes depending upon which company’s car you have, BMW downpipe hardly needs to upgrade with an aftermarket downpipe. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Straight Pipes


  • A straight pipe contributes to increasing the performance in the sense that it improves your vehicle’s horsepower. The system lets exhaust gases flow freely as they decrease backpressure.

  • Straight pipes also give your car a good look and make it stand out. Using a chrome finish to the exhaust tip makes it even more adorable.

  • Since there are no limitations like a catalytic and a muffler, the straight pipe exhaust system allows out the real sound of the engine.

  • Straight pipes come with versatile kits that fit most cars.

  • They are not much heavy and do not load the car with weight; hence the car moves even faster. With less weight, less fuel is used, therefore, saving more money.


  • Straight pipes do not have flexibility, you may need additional work to do to ensure it does not affect the airflow. 

  • They are too noisy to affect your hearing, you have earplugs for yourself and the passenger. Straight pipes exhaust are usually very expensive to install.

  • Straight pipes generate a lot of emissions of harmful gasses which is not favorable for the environment.

  • Resell value of your car might be low due to legal issues in most places.

  • Purchasing new pipes can be costly, and after installing, you also have to tune the pipes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Downpipes


  • Downpipe has a catalytic converter that reduces the emission of harmful gasses, it is favorable for the environment. The place of the downpipe also affects the turbo spool and performance but only if it is directly after the turbo 


  • A downpipe also enhances the appearance of your engine bay.


  • If a downpipe is well-aligned after installation, you do not need to check the engine light, and the important benefit is that it improves the horsepower.



  • The only downside of the downpipe is on aftermarket catless downpipes, which release a slightly unpleasing smell. Also, it is not street legal in some places.




Knowing the exhaust system of your car will help to choose the best pipe for your car. The primary reason to install or upgrade downpipe or straight pipe is to enhance the performance of your car. Downpipe has minor disadvantages, but it is environment-friendly and legal everywhere. 


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